Such style. Such presentation. Such beauty. Such poise. What a week. Saturday wrapped up the first ever Columbia Style Week. Put on by child model and actress, Alicia Zeigler of FFS Model and Talent Agency, the event had a big question mark in my head. I mean, I like Alicia and all, but who is she to take on the name of the entire city for her fashion show? Well, as it turns out, she was just the lady to do it. And she did the damn thing. Columbia Style Week was truly a success. I walked away with a whole new respect for Alicia and new hope for Columbia. Every show, although not without flaws, was well-executed, well-developed, and well-thought out. But unfortunately, Columbia did not turn out to support this ground breaking event.
Columbia Style Week brought in a famed fashion producer, a fashion critic from US Weekly, the director of Charleston Fashion Week (that was major, ya’ll), as well as noted national designers. She also gave a number of local designers and boutiques their first opportunity to shine. With an abundance of local dancers and musicians for entertainment, this event should have been a sellout. So why wasn’t it? Why did Columbia, for the most part, sit this event out? The reasons may be many. But here are a few:
Ticket price. At $35 a day, many people probably were turned off by such a steep price for a first year, unproven event. While the show may have been worth $35 in another market, fashion is way too under-appreciated in Columbia to expect people to shell out 35 clams.
Lack of radio advertising. This was suggested to me by a friend and it may be valid. Even with television, facebook, twitter and other online forums, radio advertising is still a worthwhile method of advertising. And for some markets, it’s the best method. I think WNOK was a sponsor, so they may have advertised on their station. But I don’t recall hearing any ad on the urban radio stations… that’s a polite way of saying black radio.
Columbia is not a fashion town. Honestly, I didn’t realize that until my travel itinerary tripled in the past year. While every town has its pocket of people who are very stylist and into trends, Columbian’s overall are not extremely fashion conscious. For example, when I travel to ATL for business, I can see that the men and women there pay a great deal of attention to their presentation and physical appearance. This also makes them very pretentious, which I don’t care for. I like that Columbia is laid back and people aren’t overly driven by fashion to the point of brokenness, but that also is a valid reason why many of us didn’t recognize the enormity of the event and its importance on our town.
Lack of participation in other events. If you want people to support you and your event, you have to support them and theirs. Period, point blank. Did the planners of Columbia Style Week support the other fashion events for this year? I don’t recall seeing them. I see Terence Young at other local band shows all the time. Greek organizations also support each other’s events and fund raisers. Supporting others, even your so-called competitors, is a must in a town as small as Columbia. There can be no room for haters.
For those of you who didn’t show up this year, I whole-heartedly encourage you to attend next year. Even if admission is a little pricey, go anyway. It is worth it and it means a lot to the city. It is yet another scoop of dirt out of this hole that we as a city have allowed ourselves to be buried in for the last 20 years. In order for the city to thrive, we must support each other.
For a complete review of Columbia Style Week, check out these fashion blogs: